Nationwide is quitting retail banking

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The insurance giant Nationwide is exiting the retail banking business.

The Columbus, Ohio, company said Monday that it intends to move its deposits and loans to another institution and that its banking activities will be confined to its retirement-plan clients.

“After careful review, we’ve determined that a significant additional investment would be required to gain scale and be competitive in retail banking,” the company said in a statement. “The best approach for Nationwide and for our members is to focus our resources on positioning property [and] casualty, financial services and emerging businesses for growth.”

Nationwide established a trust company in 1998 and obtained a bank charter in 2006 primarily to serve policyholders and employees.

At Dec. 31, it had $7.1 billion of assets and $4.8 billion of deposits. Its balance sheet includes roughly $2.9 billion in one- to four-family home loans and $913.8 million in auto loans. Nationwide Bank has a full-service branch in Columbus and another in nearby Dublin.

The insurer also has more than 18,500 401(k) plans and it intends to keep the financial operations that support that business, according to a story first reported by the Columbus Dispatch.

Nationwide said it has enlisted the help of an investment banker to help it find a buyer for its deposits and loans.

Nationwide has not yet figured out what will happen to the 240 employees supporting its retail banking business, but it said it has more than 800 open jobs, including 400 in central Ohio.

“We are still early in the process and exact timing of any workforce impacts is unknown,” the company’s statement said. “We anticipate the timing will vary depending on how we transition retail banking operations, so workforce impacts will vary by function and by role.”

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